There have been recent proposals to cut funding for Head Start as part of an overall federal spending reduction. What ever happened to the concept of “Leave No Child Behind”? Did we really mean “Leave No Rich Child Behind”?
Where are our priorities? We can give billions of dollars in tax cuts to the richest in the country and spend hundreds of billions of dollars trying to democratize the world, yet we cannot afford a few million dollars to help the poor in this country – not even to help their children get off to a good start with their education. We’ll lock’em up for 20 years if they get caught shop lifting a few times, but not a dime more for education and the possibility of a better life.
Most people understand that Head Start is a great program, but for those unfamiliar with the program the Macgraw-Hill dictionary has the following definition.
“Compensatory education designed to provide children from low income families the opportunity to acquire the skills and experiences important for school success.”
The Head Start Program is a program of the United States Department of Health and Human Services that provides comprehensive education, health, nutrition, and parent involvement services to low-income children and their families. There is plenty of information about the Head Start Program on the Internet, but here is what I can tell you about the program from personal experience. My sister attended the Head Start program in our neighborhood. I even volunteered one summer when I was in High School. My sister graduated from Loyola University in Chicago and today works as a nurse at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center. And like many working women today, she is also a loving mother and wife. Both my sister and I believe that Project Head Start was really beneficial in her early education and acclimation to school. Here is what she had to say about her experience in Head Start.
“I believe the program helped me get acclimated to a school setting both socially and academically with a diverse group of children (African American, Latino, Caucasian). I was introduced to reading, math, various cultures & learned socially appropriate behavior in order to be more prepared for elementary school. As a kid I remember having friends of all color and it led me to be more accepting of others and their differences.”
So what kind of country do we want? One where only the rich have the benefit of a good education or do we want to provide a good education for all Americans? I’d go with a good education for all Americans. Wasn’t there something about “promoting the general welfare” in the Preamble to the Constitution?
We should be increasing funding for education at all levels, but especially early education programs like Head Start. Let’s find more money for Head Start, not less. And let’s first look at the excesses and waste in the military budget instead of balancing the budget on the backs of the poorest and most at-risk kids in the nation. We spend more than the next fourteen largest military spending countries combined, nearly 6 times more than the next largest military spender, China, and most of the top-spending countries are our allies. Does this really make sense when we have a deficit of over 16 Trillion dollars? What are our republican leaders thinking?
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